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The design: How BRP’s roadster has evolved – February 12, 2007

February 12, 2007
Filed under Features

MELBOURNE, Fla. — The Spyder will be unveiled to the public more than 10 years after company designers originally sat down and brainstormed such a project.
“We thought about side-by-sides, we thought about tandem products, we thought about semi-enclosed, fully enclosed” on-road vehicles, Denys Lapointe, BRP’s vice president of design and innovation, said about the early brainstorming.
“We played with different geometry, but the product that was closer to our DNA” was one that shared a concept with the company’s snowmobiles and personal watercraft: the sit-down, straddle position.
Once designers honed in on that, they started playing with exactly what the vehicle’s Y architecture would look like.
“We played with the geometry,” Lapointe said, noting BRP tried designs sporting a wide Y look, then a skinny Y format.
“If you make a product that is too short in length and very wide, then it doesn’t look right,” he said. “Or likewise, if the product would have been much longer and narrower, proportions weren’t right.
“At the end of the day, the coolness factor needed to be there.”
Besides playing with the product’s Y architecture, designers also had to develop a unique facial expression, something every BRP vehicle has. For Spyder, the company settled on a cougar, a trait the company extended to the entire vehicle.
“When you look at the (front of the) Spyder, you’ll see the eyes,” Lapointe said. “The two headlamps actually have, although it’s not a literal translation, a little bit of the character of the cougar.”
That character extends to the overall shape of the vehicle. “A feline is a muscular animal and there’s resemblance with a feline to a certain extent with the Spyder,” Lapointe said.
“It evolved,” he said of the Spyder design. “The very first generation wasn’t as sharp looking as the final one. But as we understand who the (targeted) customer would be, then we adjusted the design theme accordingly.
“We wanted to make sure it had a very powerful character from the get-go to avoid any negative perception at first glance. It needed to say, (this) reflects power. It reflects energy. It reflects character.”
Besides its aggressive styling, designers also had to ensure it was a comfortable ride. That means developing a product that a petite rider, maybe a 5-foot, 100-pound woman, could ride just as comfortably as a 6-4, 200-plus pound male. That design step was especially important because “you can make adjustments here and there, but it doesn’t have any ergonomic adjustments,” Lapointe said of the roadster.
“If you don’t notice any irritancies, than it’s because we’ve done our jobs right.” psb

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